You’re the man, you are the man, your
teammates are saying and half-praying
who can bring them back into the game
with a fortuitous, sure, the coach might say
"lucky," swing of the bat, a sweet cut
at the old apple, if only that stringbean
leaning in from the mound would chunk you,
as Dizzy Dean would’ve said, a "punkin,"
just fast enough, belt-high, in your zone.
You’d give her a ride. You would get right
under her and lift her over deep center.
"Baby," you say to yourself, "come on baby."
You tap the plate with the keen blade of your bat.
You wave it straight toward centerfield thinking
deep, against the wall at least, and you see yourself
rounding second, pounding into third, sliding,
kicking dust into the face of that punk who
gunned you out back in the sixth because
baseball is all about retribution, salvation.
"Big guy," they’re still shouting from the dugout,
you can make it happen-you’re the one-you can
do it—eat it up, the next pitch, just bloop it over second,
two out, the bases juiced, all sex and justice.
Two strikes, no sweat, a piece of cake, easy as pie,
make that a slice of Grandma’s pumpkin. Dessert—
be hungry, man. Shift your weight. Just meet the ball.
This poem first appeared in Slant #24(Summer 2010), p. 49.
Used here with the author’s permission.